Mr Willenburg miraculously survived the death camp Treblinka in Poland and lived to the age of 93, dying in February of this year.
Here is a important link to a important documentary on Treblinka and Samual Willenberg's story:
Survivor Stories From Treblinka Death Camp Nazi Jewish Holocaust Documentary
Below is a sculpture he made of a a naked 19 (or younger) Warsaw girl before she was executed. The women in the the Treblinka camp were killed last so that their hair could be harvested. Samual Willenburg had a job as barber that day. He spoke her, she knew she was about to be killed, she asked how long it would take, he said 10 minutes. Her name was Ruth Dorfmann. An amazing poignant and extremely powerful sculpture was done of this young woman by Mr. Willlenburg.
|Ruth Dorfmann before her execution by Samual Willenbeurg, 2001|
The International School for Holocaust Studies
Can you tell us the story of Ruth Dorfmann? I was not a frissiere (barber); there was a group of barbers but I was not one of them. Suddenly a big transport arrived, so Kiwe, the SS-man, grabbed some of us to help. I wore the white robe, and I had the scissors, in the “jupa” – the hut that the Germans built. I cut her hair cleanly, for a reason. I did more than I had to – I made it a clean haircut, because if I had just cut randomly here and there, they [the women] would have understood [that the haircut was not for purposes of disinfection, as the Germans told them, but that they were going to be killed. –Ed.] I cut cleanly, as though with a razor, to make it smooth. For a reason. And this girl started talking. She had come from the Warsaw ghetto. She was beautiful. She was naked. And in the background there was fog, like mist, that was rising from the ground, from the warm clothing left on the ground, from the body heat left in the clothing, and maybe also because the women had urinated. They had just come from the big room where all the women were forced to take off their clothing, into a smaller room, through some doors. So in the background there was mist rising from the clothing. And she started talking. She said, “I am Ruth Dorfmann.” I remember! She said, “I have a diploma.” She had learned in the ghetto. She was about 20, my age.
How old were you?
I was 19, turning 20. I turned 20 in Treblinka.
And she was talking. She asked, “How long will it take?” She knew [that she was about to be killed]! They all knew!